Hands up who got confident at the end of 2020 and booked some concert tickets? *waves hands in the air*
Yep… that worked out well, didn’t it?
Anywhoo, 2021 wasn’t completely a carbon copy of 2020 – I managed to pick up a few new skills in the game development area, spent a year with a chiropractor undoing a few years-worth of tension, which meant by the end of the year I could do something crazy like take up golf again, and spent about 4-5 months driving between work, home, and food.
Which, on the bright side, meant I could spend a good chunk of time keeping tabs on my favorite bands, who were a little more active this year thanks to restrictions easing overseas a bit. I caught a few live streams from the likes of MxPx, Less Than Jake, Nemophila and Scandal, and also became addicted to regularly browsing CD Japan for great CDs to get delivered.
Anyway, no point in moping, onwards to 2022, here’s some of my highlights from the past 12 months.
TOP 5 ALBUMS OF 2021
#5 Dropkick Murphys – Turn Up That Dial
#4 Trident – Advance Generation
#3 The Offspring – Let The Bad Times Roll
#2 Bo Burnham – Inside (The Songs)
#1 Band Maid – Unseen World
TOP 5 SONGS OF 2021
#5 Jimmy Barnes – ‘Flesh and Blood’
#4 Bowling For Soup – ‘Getting Old Sucks’
#3 MxPx – ‘Can’t keep waiting’
#2 Nemophila – ‘Dissension’
#1 Scandal – ‘Ivory’
BEST MUSIC VIDEO OF 2021
#5 Bowling For Soup ‘Getting Old Sucks’
#4 Trident ‘Distination’
#3 BAND-MAID ‘Sense’
#2 SCANDAL ‘One More Time’
#1 Nemophila ‘Revive’
FIRST GIG YOU HAVE LINED UP POST-COVID?
… What’s a gig?
Honestly, I don’t really have anything lined up – out of pure optimism I tried to plan at the end of 2020 by picking up a ticket to Full Tilt in Brisbane (when it was announced to be happening in June) and, well, look how that panned out. Thanks Gladys.
So going into 2022 I’m a bit cautious in not booking anything more than a month ahead, which isn’t to say I won’t do anything – I’m hoping I might make it to the Sydney leg of either Full Tilt or Spring Loaded.
WHAT BANDS GOT YOU THROUGH THESE PAST TWO YEARS?
First, MxPx have been great at keeping their fans entertained, with a new song being put out every couple of months or so, and with “Between This World And The Next,” a series of live streamed concerts that in my opinion were the closest to the ‘live’ feeling any band got with streaming. Thanks to some stellar roving-camera work, watching an MxPx stream felt like you were in their living room while they played. Not to mention the cool sense of community you got from their Facebook and Twitter following, with fans showing off their viewing setup or proud pop-punk parents sharing videos of their kids rocking out to ‘Let’s Ride’.
Having just put out a live album, Southbound to San Antonio, and a string of US dates announced, MxPx look ready to get back to normal. I hope they make it down here soon.
Of course, if there’s been one band that’s been a constant go-to for me throughout this whole thing it would be Scandal, a J-Rock outfit that’s graced the top spot on my ‘Spotify Unwrapped’ both in 2020 and 2021. Having released several new singles over 2021, they’ve maintained a close connection to their fanbase with monthly vlogs and a weekly radio show, along with streaming their 15th anniversary concert in Osaka to the world back in August. These four women write damn good songs with a wide dynamic of fuzzy pop-punk and the most emotional pop songs you’ll hear.
A new album, MIRROR, is due in January, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next, and should I make it to Japan soon, seeing a SCANDAL show in person is at the top of my itinerary.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT YOU GOING INTO NEXT YEAR?
I think it would be that I’m starting to get a bit physically active again. I got back into golf at the tail end of 2021 (having not played since at least 2015) so I’m hoping with some lessons and sticking to getting out to a course it might get me losing a chunk of weight.
FAV NEW BAND/MUSICIAN DISCOVERED IN 2021
It would probably be a tie between Trident and Polkadot Stingray, both within that J-Rock category, but Trident offer up a more hard rock sound, while Polkadot Stingray are a hyper-funky pop-rock outfit with catchy songs.
NEXT BIG AUSSIE ACT TO WATCH IN 2022?
Our entire music industry in general. These past two years have been a real hit on our bank account, but with everything now open in 2022 (fuck off, Omicron) it’s time to get the local scenes back into action.
And (while I have your attention) this means including more than just the major cities on your ‘Australian’ tour – places like Albury need some love and have awesome burger joints.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2022?
Travelling, music and BBQ festivals, geek conventions, and (hopefully) removing a certain pants-soiling politician from office.
Written By Simon Valentine @simonvalentineau